Loudest And Quietest Places: U.S. Map Of Noisy And Quiet Spots Around Nation

What are the loudest and quietest places in America? Researchers have released findings that show where the most noise and silence is located. As seen on the map, Science publishes an interesting report which illustrates where the loudest places in terms of decibels are at. The report generates information from evidence based on 1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring “from places as remote as Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and as urban as New York City.”

Noise levels across the U.S. were taken from an “average” summer day.

Acoustic data of the loudest and quiet places were then put through a computer system that came up with the results. Sounds included everything such as air and street traffic, according to the report.

Glancing at the map scientists have devised, the dark blue regions of the country are considered the quietest places. The lighter areas represent the loudest places. This is obviously the more densely populated cities.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado have overall noise levels as low as 20 decibels, which is silence.

Noise levels of the nation’s largest cities reaches an average level of 50 to 60 decibels. Scientists presented this data at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting. The National Park Service is finding the map useful for narrowing down places where human-made noise most affect wildlife. Owls and bats fall into the category of animals with extremely sensitive hearing. Their hearing is up to 20 decibels higher than people. When too much human-made noises are present, it serves as a disadvantage to those types of animals because it covers the sounds of subtle rustles from rodents and insects needed as their food source. The animals rely predominately on their sense of hearing in order to hunt and survive.


As the AAAS website explains about human-made noises, researchers will learn more about the “distribution of animals” by looking at the loudest and quietest places in the country.

New evidence suggests that these sensory stimuli represent strong forces influencing human well-being and the behavior and distributions of animals. This symposium provides an appraisal of knowledge to date and discusses new insights resulting from innovative approaches to studying noise and night lighting as global change. Specifically, speakers will present new efforts to predict and map noise and night lighting at a continental scale, describe the breadth of ecological and human responses to these stimuli, and illustrate how citizen scientists can be important components to research and adaptive management.

In case you never knew how noisy your region is, the map on the loudest and quietest places in the nation will tell you a lot about it.

[Image via Science]